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Thread: tool reviews

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583

    tool reviews

    Well, i hope this doesn't sound too half baked, but i started thinking about the usefullness of tool reviews - how i always find them interesting, but rarely usefull, mostly because i'm not much of a consumer of new stuff. My shop is filled with tools much older than i am. Mostly, i read new tool reviews to see what's "current" for tablesaws, scraping planes, or what have you. I do own some new tools, but have thriftily assembled my shop over the years by acquiring mostly used equipment. I'm not too proud to dive a dumpster.

    So, i thought i'd throw out the offer to review some of the old stuff in my shop for anyone interested. Now, mind you, i've got limited experience with tools and machines other than what i own, but i'll give my opinions of the various aspects of using these things if anyone happens to be looking at the same older equipment. I've not got a comprehensive list by any means, but i've also cylcled through a fair amount of used "junk" tools that weren't made very well or had weird design foibles. Those tools don't stick around my shop (with very little exception). Just because it's old, doesn't mean it was made well, though a lot of the stuff that survived the past 60 or 100 years stood the test of time for good reason. There was a lot of lesser stuff available that found it's way to a landfill in the mean time.
    So, here's what i've got to talk about:

    Machines:
    1) Walker Turner 900 series floor model 15" drill press with custom table lift. I occassionally use it with the mortising attachment or a sanding spindle.
    2) Makita 14" miter saw
    3) Walker Turner J24 scroll saw - rebuilt last year.
    4) JD Wallace "Workace" benchtop shaper - rebuilt a couple of years ago
    5) Bradley 17" band saw (old C frame about 100 years old) - rebuilt 6 years ago.
    6) Cresent 20" band saw - early 1930's model - mechanical rebuild last year
    7) Inca model 510 jointer/planer combo machine - 10-3/8" cutting width - ready to run when i got it
    8) Atlas grinder/hone model 510 - worked when i got it
    9) Makita wet grinder model 9810-2 - worked fine when i got it
    10) Craftsman (King Seeley made) 4" jointer - mechanical rebuild 5 years ago
    11) General International left tilt 10" contractor's table saw w/ General fence (Biesemeier clone) - new a few years ago
    12) Jet DC650 dust collector with Wynn Environmental cannister filter upgrade - worked when i got it - upgraded the filter
    13) Grob EB-1 band saw blade brazer - worked when i got it
    14) i rebuilt and used an Atlas 3020 8" table saw - no longer have it but know it well
    15) i rebuilt and used an Atlas 15" bench mount drill press - again, i don't have it any more, but know it well
    16) I helped my dad with an old Buffalo camelback drill press - 15 inch model - flat belt drive. I have used it at his shop.
    17) Delta 8" Junior Unisaw - general clean up and tune up this past year.
    18 & 19) On the resto list are my FE Reed lathe - it's a little one (9" swing - 30" btwn centers) and is an old flat belt drive, and a Delta 24" scroll saw from the late 1940's or early 1950's.
    20) shop built air cleaner made from an off-the-shelf attic fan and furnace filters. Some may argue its worthlessness, but it collects a lot of dust and can clear a cloud in the shop in short order.
    21) my electrolysis set up - plenty of room for improvment, but it works for me.

    Tools:

    1) standard arsenal of iron hand planes - Stanley 220 standard angle block, Veritas low angle block, Stanley 140 skew angle block (revived from rust by our own Travis Johnson), Stanley #2, Stanley #4 (WWII era), Record SS #4, Stanley #40 scrub plane, Stanley #4 converted to scrub plane, Keen Kutter K5 jack plane, Stanley #7 corrugated, Veritas medium shoulder plane, Kunz #112 scraper plane, Stanley #78 fillet/rabet plane, Veritas low angle smoother plane, Kunz squirrel tail block, various aftermarket replacement blades and chip breakers (Hock, Lie Nielsen, Cliffton)

    2) measuring / marking tools - veritas marking knife, Marples marking gage, Shop Fox marking gage, Johnson tri-square, Gladstone 6" rule, Starrett 6" rule, Gladstone 4" fractional dial caliper, Federal dial indicator, Federal adjustable indicator base, Shinwa sliding T bevel

    3) Sharpening tools - King combination water stone, grey side clamping sharpening guide, Veritas sharpening guide, sandpaper/glass/etc. for using scary sharp method, a couple of clamp on saw vises, Crescent saw jointer, old Craftsman saw set

    4) Cutting tools - Loose assortment of chisels picked up from various estate sales and flea markets - everything from yellow plastic handled Stanleys and hardware store brands to Stanley 750, Swan, Buck, and other socket chisels. Disston #14 back saw, Japanese Dozuki saw (hafta check on the brand - the only English on the package or saw is "made in Japan"), Disston #7 - one sharpened for crosscut, another sharpened for rip cuts

    5) power tools - older Milwaukee 14.4 v drill, Hitachi 1/2" hammer drill, Makita 1/4 sheet sander, Porter Cable 5" ROS, Dremel multi-tool with a bunch of accessories, Fein Multi-Master, Milwaukee heat gun, old Milwaukee sawzall, old Craftsman router with biscuit cutter attachment, Skil (older all metal model) jig saw, Bosch jig saw, Dewalt 3/8" drill, Bostitch 15 gage angled finish nailer, Porter Cable 18 gage brad nailer

    6) other miscelaneous stuff like a Veritas brass/wood headed mallot, Wilton woodworking vise, B&D Workmate, Coleman "Black Max" air compressor, various clamps like Bessey, Irwin, Jet, Harbor Freight, Jorgensons, old bar clamps, North Brothers bit brace, Millers Falls #2 and #5 eggbeater drills (the ultimate cordless drills for drilling small holes), Yankee screw drivers, Millers Falls push drill, etc.

    I always thougth it would be interesting if some of the new tool reviews included an old tried and true workhorse in the lineup for a "benchmark", but i know it would be fairly arbitrary which old clunker to match up to the new dogs.

    My reviews would not be scientific, but would offer a general assessment on ease of set up, use, ergonomics, strengths, weaknesses, durability, etc. They may be useful for people expanding their shops on a shoe string budget like i did. If you are interested in any of the equipment i listed, just ask and i can give a quick run down of my experiences.

    Paul Hubbman
    Last edited by Paul Hubbman; 10-21-2008 at 06:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,470

    great idea

    just take one or two at a time
    well lets get started paul!!!!1
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Paul,

    I got to the Crescent band saw and quit reading. This is obviously a stealth gloat
    Bob Ross
    WALNUT ACRE WOODWORKING
    Ideas, Products & Accessories for Serious Safety-Minded Woodworkers
    www.walnutacrewoodworking.com

    Please Pray for Our Troops
    Semper Fi!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Field, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    113
    I'll take you up on that offer; I'm interested in the Fein Multi-Master:

    • Does it work as as they say it does?
    • What are it's strengths
    • Is there anything you hate about it?
    Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, so keep your hands away and watch out!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,008
    I think any and all reviews of tools on that list would be a good addition here. I say go for it.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Odessa, Tx
    Posts
    1,813
    Paul, I'm always interested in reading a user's evaluation of older tools, as I have a few myself, and occasionally run across something I might want to pick up if I have "Some Knowledge" of it. I do hate to buy something I'm not familiar with though and then get it home and find that it really wasn't worth the money or effort, especially if it needs restoration work too. Almost all tools have some weaknesses, but they may or may not be important to all users, depending on what he/she plans to use it for. Like others said, take one or two at a time and go for it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Posts
    9,076
    I think it's a great idea. I have one of those new-fangled Workmates inherited from dad. It's been doing its job for 35 years or so. Cracks me up. I'm no collector but just being part of the Bradley clan I have inherited pwoer tools bought new as far back as the 40's by Grandpa. Hand tools before who-knows-when as well. Dad sure wasn't gonna let them get away and the ones he's not still using have made it into my shop. Forge ahead one or two at a time. This should be fun and interesting.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
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    17,470
    Quote Originally Posted by Yann Arbour View Post
    I'll take you up on that offer; I'm interested in the Fein Multi-Master:

    • Does it work as as they say it does?
    • What are it's strengths
    • Is there anything you hate about it?
    yan i ant paul,, but i can give the fein multi master a it is is as usefull as a sawsall if you remeber you have it it gets in to places and does things that the sawsall doesnt.. and very well.. the blades are pricey but last long providing you use them for the right thing i would definatly purchase anothe rif it were to break or be lost!!!
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Posts
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by Yann Arbour View Post
    I'll take you up on that offer; I'm interested in the Fein Multi-Master:

    • Does it work as as they say it does?
    • What are it's strengths
    • Is there anything you hate about it?
    I'm not Paul but...

    It works great. It will do things that no other power tool I know of will. I had to install a 3/8" liner in a built-in cabinet in order to size it properly to fit drawer slides. I accidentally trapped a small screw behind the liner at the back of one drawer and did not notice a problem until the cabinet was installed and the drawer would not fit. It was the bottom drawer and 22" deep. I envisioned having to chop out the back of liner with a hammer and chisel while laying in very close quarters. I was able to easily get in there with the multimaster and an E-cut blade and carefully cut out the bottom corner of the liner freeing the screw and saving the liner.

    Strengths - It is a very powerful tool for doing very fine work. The sander will also get into very tight places that are impossible to sand by hand. It works great for removing tile grout. The flush cut plunge saw blades are really handy and will cut through just about anything. If you can handle the price, you will not regret it.

    I don't hate anything about it, but I wish I had bought the model with the tool-free quick release, but at the time I could not justify the extra cost.

    Don

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583
    About the Fein Multimaster -
    I think it's a very well engineered tool that can do a pretty wide range of things (if you have the accessories for it). I find, though, that for general carpentry, furniture building, and home renovation types of tasks, i really don't use it enough to justify the expense (i know everyone's threshold on that is different as well - this is just my opinion).

    I picked one up thinking it would be great for reglazing the 42 double hung 90+ year old windows in my house. Hardened glazing compound can be a challenge to get out without breaking the glass. What i found was that it didn't work all that well on the rock-hard glazing compound - not with a bi-metal blade, not with a scraping blade. (I eventually found that laying a kerosene soaked rag on the glazing, covering it with plastic, and letting it sit overnight softened things up so that i didn't need anything more than some light work with a putty knife). I find that it works well at undercutting door jambs and casing, but so does a $15 flush cut saw. It excells at grinding out tile grout with the carbide grit blade - like no other tool i've seen. I suppose you could use a dremel with a rotary carbide spur bit for this, but you'd lack the control you have with the Fein. It's also a very useful detail sander, both with the triangular hook / loop pad and the profile tips.

    It's a bit loud, but i usually wear ear protection anyway. I find that the vibration isn't really a problem except during very long sessions with the thing. My Porter Cable random orbital sander and my Makita 1/4 sheet sander vibrate much worse than the Fein. Also, the thing is built like a tank, and the fit and finish are exceptional.

    I do like that it comes with a long cord, and changing accessories really isn't a big deal on the older models - it takes about half a minute with the allen wrench.

    My son is always looking to work in the shop while i'm down there. You may cringe, but i let him use this tool to sand scraps of wood. For one thing, it's easy to handle. For another, the high frequency of the vibration makes it nearly impossible for him to hurt himself even if he puts his hand completely on the sanding pad.

    It did take me a bit to realize that "bearing down" on the work with this tool keeps it from working well. A light touch will allow the vibrations to work better, whether it's cutting wood, sanding, or grinding grout. Pressing hard dampens the vibrations and kills the tools effectiveness.

    Comparing this tool to other detail sanders is easy - this one simply works better than something like the Ryobi because it rotates the sanding pad, keeping it flat against the work surface. Cheaper models rotate the sanding pad so that it rocks on the work surface, making it easy to leave marks or gouges because the edges will cut while the center of the pad barely touches the work surface.

    In short, i think it does some tasks very well, and some not well at all. That said, i still like the tool and do enjoy using it, but i find i don't really use it that often with the work that i do. My biggest criticism is with the cost - not of the tool itself (though they are quite proud of it), but of the accessories. At $30 or more for an accessory or even a sanding pad (which looks like it costs 87 cents to make) is simply ridiculous in my book. The sand paper is also attrociously expensive, though not as bad if you buy in bulk. I suppose some of that is acceptable if you don't mind paying someone a liveable wage to develop, build, and deliver quality tools, but the high cost of the accessories smacks of gouging a captive audience.

    Hope you find this useful.

    Paul Hubbman

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